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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Determining child support awards in Texas

Texas child support laws require the noncustodial parent to provide support until the child is 18 or graduates high school, whichever is later. For disabled children, this obligation may be indefinite. Child support awards are based on the net income of the noncustodial parent.

For child support purposes, net income includes all salary and wages, overtime pay, bonuses, tips and self-employment income. It also includes income from investments, such as interest, royalty income, rental income and dividends. If the noncustodial parent is receiving Social Security benefits, workers' compensation benefits, retirement benefits, severance pay or disability income, this amount is also included. However, net income does not include accounts receivable, welfare payments or a new spouse's income. Net income is derived after subtracting federal income tax based on the single tax rate, state income tax, Social Security taxes, health insurance coverage for the child being supported and union dues from the total amount of income.

If a person's income varies each month, the court may average a parent's income over a specific time period. Child support is a certain percentage of the noncustodial parent's income. The percentage depends on how many children that the noncustodial parent is currently supporting. The percentage is 20 percent of the noncustodial parent's net income and increases by 5 percent for each additional child for up to five children. For six or more children, the percentage should be not less than 40 percent of the parent's net income.

A custodial parent who decides to pursue child support should consult a family law attorney who can provide general information about how much support should be awarded. Special rules may apply if the noncustodial parent is not earning up to his or her potential.

Source: Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, "Child Support Calculations", September 15, 2014

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